Gomes, A's express mutual interest in 2013 return

Gomes, A's express mutual interest in 2013 return
October 12, 2012, 10:30 pm
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OAKLAND -- He won the Catfish Hunter award, the Dave Stewart award, the respect of his teammates and his manager. He may not have been in the everyday lineup, but there was no player on the 2012 Oakland Athletics more respected than Jonny Gomes. One problem, he is a free agent. Would he want to come back? "Would I like to? Absolutely," Gomes said. "I don't know, I mean this season has been magical for me, it has been a dream come true. When you've been kicked in the teeth as much as I have in the offseason you realize nothing is a guarantee."And therein lies the problem. Gomes is one of four A's free agents. He shared time with Seth Smith, only had 279 at-bats in 99 games and still clubbed 18 homers. That was the fifth best mark in Athletics history for a guy that played less than 100 games. Gomes had a career-high .377 on-base percentage, and batted .306 with runners on. While those stats are great, his veteran leadership and impact on the young team behind the scenes was immeasurable.
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It would clearly be in the A's best interest to bring him back."I agree and I think it's probably a work in progress to do that," A's manager Bob Melvin said "Billy Beane understands that as well as anybody. Nothing's for sure but my guess is there's probably some talks going on either now or very quickly." The A's used platoons at DH, first base, second base, shortstop and catcher this year. The results were phenomenal. With sensitive professional athlete egos involved that is a tough thing to do. It worked because a veteran like Gomes never once complained when he was held out of the lineup for matchup reasons. 58 of his 74 starts came against left-handed pitching. His teammates saw the way he handled split playing time and thought if he can do it so can they. With all right-handed pitchers starting games for the Tigers in the American League Division Series, Gomes only got one at-bat. He didn't complain. When he finally came to the plate, he got a standing ovation. "The ovation I got was pretty special," Gomes said. "There's some well liked guys in the game and to have a sellout crowd get up on their feet to give me a little love, that's what I play for. I play for my teammates, I play for my family, and I play for the fans. I think got three thumbs up.""He's done a lot of us this year and with this community, obviously the Little League World Series thing was a blast for us to be a part of," Josh Reddick said. "...The fans were still thinking about him." Bringing back Gomes would be a good move for the A's. He had a huge impact on Reddick this season, and was a go-to guy if anyone on the team needed a question answered or advice. He even joked at times that he was Melvin's assistant manager. A fan of the game and a Petaluma native, Gomes embodies what the Oakland Athletics are all about. Heart and hustle. Baseball is a business, but having two willing parties helps. Gomes wants to be back and the team says they would be happy to have him. Maybe they can meet half way and get a deal done soon.